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1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103, United States
Referred to in sports as the “Granddaddy of Them All” because of its prestige and tradition, the Rose Bowl stadium is most famously known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day. The Rose Bowl is among the most iconic and historic sports venues in the country. For almost 100 years, it has been the home of the Rose Bowl football game, but it has also hosted other important sporting events like the Olympics, NCAA national championships, Super Bowls, and it serves as the home of UCLA football games. The first Tournament of Roses Parade and games were first held in 1890 as a field day for outdoor enthusiasts to gather in Pasadena, Cali. A parade was held and foot races, jousts and tugs of war were contested. By 1902, the first Rose Bowl football game was played at Tournament Park between the University of Michigan and Stanford (Michigan won 49-0) and the event grew in popularity over the next 20 years that the venue had to be upgraded and expanded.
In 1922, a horseshoe-shaped stadium designed by Myron Hunt that could seat 57,000 football fans was completed at a cost of $272,198. The first Rose Bowl game dedicated the new stadium in 1923 when USC defeated Penn State 14-2. The stadium is a National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The first iteration of the stadium in 1923 seated 57,000 football fans but it was enlarged by 19,000 seats in 1928 to accommodate 76,000 fans. In 1931, wooden sections were replaced with concrete and 10,000 more seats increased total capacity to 83,000. In 1949, $335,000 worth of renovations increased capacity to 94,410. A fourth major expansion in 1950 increased capacity to 100,983 and the Rose Bowl became the first bowl game to have 100,000 spectators in attendance. A fifth expansion in 1972 bumped capacity to 104,594. While it is famous for hosting college bowl games, the natural grass surface of the Rose Bowl has been the home of UCLA football games since 1982.
The stadium itself is beautiful and full of new fixtures from a recent renovation, but the spread out bowl design doesn’t hold sound well. The raucous crowd can sound a bit far away and the bands at halftime can be difficult to hear when you’re not seated right down on the field. That being said, the traditions are all there. From the UCLA 8-Clap to the walk to the field behind the UCLA flag bearers, it’s a great college football experience through and through. There’s no disputing the quality of the area around the Rose Bowl, as there aren’t many more picturesque settings in the country. The Rose Bowl is at the bottom of a valley at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, whose peaks rise above the stadium and are visible from anywhere inside or outside. Beautiful sunsets over the mountains behind the press box are not uncommon sights here, and they tend to be more than impressive. Mansions rest atop these mountains overlooking the stadium, just in case you’ve forgotten that you’re in the Los Angeles area.
Despite its age and flaws, the Rose Bowl is and will continue to be one of the legendary sports venues in any sport. For that reason alone, you should plan a visit.
Fan Author: Chris Martin / Photo credit: jmartcmu
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